Mike Tyson vs. Henry Tillman

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"The Road Back"
Tyson vs Tillman.jpg
DateJune 16, 1990
VenueCaesars Palace in Paradise, Nevada
Title(s) on the lineNone
Tale of the tape
Boxer United States Mike Tyson United States Henry Tillman
Nickname "Iron"
Hometown Catskill, New York Los Angeles, California
Pre-fight record 37–1 20–4
Recognition WBA/WBC/IBF
No. 2 Ranked Heavyweight
No. 9 Ranked Heavyweight

Mike Tyson vs. Henry Tillman, billed as "The Road Back", was a professional boxing match contested on June 16, 1990.


In his previous fight, Mike Tyson had lost his Undisputed Heavyweight title after being knocked out in the tenth round by 42–1 underdog James "Buster" Douglas in one of the biggest upsets in sports history. After a failed protest, Tyson's promoter Don King attempted to quickly gain a rematch with Douglas, but Douglas turned down King's offer and instead chose to face the number one contender Evander Holyfield.[1] Left with little choice, Tyson was forced down the comeback trail. Former welterweight and middleweight champion Thomas Hearns[2] and former heavyweight contender Renaldo Snipes[3] emerged as possible opponents for Tyson, but it was announced on May 1 that Tyson would face 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist Henry Tillman, who had twice defeated Tyson as an amateur, effectively costing Tyson a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.[4] In spite of his successful amateur career, Tillman's professional career was unimpressive, facing mostly unknowns and losing his only high-profile fight to Evander Holyfield by way of knockout. Tillman entered the fight as a 25–1 underdog and was given virtually no chance of defeating Tyson. The Tyson–Tillman fight was the second fight of a doubleheader event that also featured George Foreman taking on Adilson Rodrigues.

The fight[edit]

Tyson charged at Tillman once the opening bell sounded, causing Tillman to quickly retreat. Tillman offered very little offense during the fight, instead spending the first minute of the fight circling the ring in an effort to avoid Tyson's powerful punches. Tyson eventually caught up to Tillman and began throwing powerful combinations at Tillman, causing Tillman to clinch several times whenever Tyson would mount a substantial amount of offense. With around 25 seconds left in the round, Tyson trapped Tillman in the corner. Tillman attempted to throw a jab, but Tyson countered with a strong right hand that dropped Tillman to the mat. Tillman remained on his back as the referee counted him out and Tyson was named the winner by way of knockout at 2:47 of the first round.[5]


  1. ^ Douglas Shuns Tyson For Holyfield, N.Y. Times article, 1990-02-19, Retrieved on 2013-08-10
  2. ^ Hearns vs. Tyson?, N.Y. Times article, 1990-02-22, Retrieved on 2013-08-10
  3. ^ Tyson Fight in Doubt, N.Y. Times article, 1990-04-24, Retrieved on 2013-08-10
  4. ^ Foreman and Tyson Book a Doubleheader, N.Y. Times article, 1990-05-01, Retrieved on 2013-08-10
  5. ^ Punch and Duty, Sports Illustrated article, 1990-06-25, Retrieved on 2013-08-10